There are no tickets available to travel to different Middle Eastern destinations till March of this year which has pushed the expatriates’ workers into deep uncertainty.
In the face of widespread criticism of the ongoing anarchy, the state-owned carrier - Biman Bangladesh Airlines has announced a nominal reduction in airfares, but they have no vacant seat before next March. The situation is similar with other foreign airlines. Even though such anarchy is going on openly, the concerned departments are silent for mysterious reasons.
Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) President Monsur Ahmed Kalam while talking to Bangladesh Post said, “We have written to different stakeholders over the tickets crisis issue to ME destinations, but the crisis continues to prevail. However, in this case, I think only airlines can play a lead role through the stakeholders’ involvement.”
Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, millions of expatriates have not been able to return to work for almost two years. Many are desperate to return as their visas expire in various Middle Eastern countries. And with this opportunity, almost all airlines authorities are manipulating the fares as they wish.
As until March travel agents did not have tickets to ME countries, including Saudi Arabia, passengers have to pay two to three times more for this route by going directly to the airlines.
A ticket worth Tk 40,000 on the Dhaka-Riyadh route is now hard to manage even paying Tk 1 lakh. Tickets for the Dhaka-Dubai route usually costs Tk 45,000 which has gone up from Tk 90,000 recently to Tk 120,000. According to the expatriates, the airlines are looting a large part of their income.
The Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment is also angry over this anarchy. The ministry is trying to a conditional reduction in fare in the face of widespread criticism.
Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed said, “It’s totally an expected situation for the country’s expatriates. We are continuously holding talks with other stakeholders over the issue.”
However, Biman Bangladesh Airlines managing director Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal said there were no vacant tickets for Biman before March.